Synopsis by Mark Deming
Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has often concerned himself with children striving to make the best of difficult circumstances, and this documentary finds him capturing a real-life corollary to the fictional tales of his best-known work. At the request of the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development, Kiarostami traveled to Africa to make a film about the work of the Uganda Women's Effort to Save Orphans, a volunteer group established to provide food, shelter, and care for the more than one-and-a-half-million children left to fend for themselves in a nation torn apart by war, poverty, and the AIDS epidemic. While Kiarostami's first visit was planned so he could see the country and map out what he would film, he brought along some digital video equipment, and upon arrival, he was so struck by what he saw that he immediately began to record the events around him, in which the tragedies of this struggling nation were contrasted with the warmth and boundless optimism of the children looking for a better life. ABC Africa received its North American premiere at the 2001 DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival.